Everyone has heard of money laundering. It features prominently in TV shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Narcos” and just about every Mafia movie since the 1980’s. Despite this, few people know how money laundering works. A perfect example comes from the cinematic classic “Office Space”, where after executing a skimming scheme that is years ahead of its time, the cast looks up the definition in the dictionary and come away even more confused than before.
While understanding how money laundering works may be a mystery, what it does is well-known. Criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists want to spend their hard-earned money like everyone else. Therefore, they launder the money to make it appear legitimate. The process is complicated, but when drilled down to the basics, it consists of three steps that anyone can follow.
Step 1: Placement
Placement is what it sounds like, literally moving the funds into the financial system. This step is the
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